Making a Murderer: University of Utah criminal law expert available to speak on Steven Avery’s case

Thousands of people have signed online petitions to free convicted murderer Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey, whose stories have gone global in the wake of the newly released Netflix documentary “Making a Murderer.” The story continues to gain traction, particularly as filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos announced this week that a juror from Avery’s 2005 murder case in Wisconsin reached out to them to say that some jurors believed the defense that law enforcement framed Avery for the murder of Teresa Halbach, in part as retribution for a lawsuit Avery had brought against the county for his wrongful conviction in 1985 for the rape of Penny Beernsten.

With so many twists and turns, the case brings no shortage of issues to talk about. Shima Baradaran Baughman a professor at the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah, is available to speak about the Avery case and continuing questions arising from it. Baughman is an expert on criminal law, including issues of criminal procedure and evidence. She can offer commentary on Avery’s case relating to evidentiary issues at trial; the inadequacy of counsel for both Avery and Dassey (and related Sixth Amendment issues); improper searches conducted without a warrant (violations of the Fourth Amendment); as well as the prosecutorial and police misconduct laced throughout the trial. Baughman can also speak to how the Netflix series is shining a light on improprieties in the criminal justice system —and whether current discussion may lead to broader criminal justice reforms at a time when other legislation aimed at creating a more just system is being considered.

Phone: (801) 819-5322 | Shima.Baughman@law.utah.edu